We look toward the late-night shows this time of year to usher in Christmas and, in the process, try and make sense of the year that is almost over.
And since this week will likely mark the end of 2012 for the late-night shows (since any late-night host worth his salt will insist on having the holiday week off next week), we’re showcasing four clips that we hope will put you in the holiday spirit as we all head into the final shopping weekend before the big day next Tuesday.
And as a bonus, Item No. 5 is a Christmas classic, which happened to air just this week. More on that in a moment, but first …
1) Jay Leno takes a Jib-Jab at the year that was: We haven’t seen one of these elaborate animated videos from the creative minds at Jib-Jab in quite a while on “The Tonight Show,” so it was a nice surprise on Thursday night to see this incredible wrap-up of people and events in the news in 2012, set against the backdrop of the Mayan-predicted end-of-the-world on Friday (which, by mid-afternoon, had not happened yet, at least not here in New York!).
2) David Letterman kids around: Dave was like a kid in a toy store this week when he did a bit showcasing some new toys for Christmas on his CBS “Late Show.” When we watched this bit (which you can watch below), we immediately thought of something Dave said in that interview with Charlie Rose this week on “CBS This Morning,” when Rose asked Dave to describe what makes him laugh. And, as comedians sometimes struggle to do, Dave tried to craft an answer, and the answer he came up with could be boiled down to one thing — silliness. And we felt this toy bit captured that idea very well.
3) Sammy and David Bowie? That would be the late Sammy Davis Jr., for you younger readers (once upon a time, if you said the name “Sammy,” everyone knew who you meant) — and Billy Crystal impersonated him the other night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” It was a curious impersonation: Billy, who knew Sammy well and has impersonated him for decades, got the voice right but no complexion-enhancing makeup was involved in the performance. And Fallon adopted the voice of David Bowie to duet with Crystal as “Sammy” on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The act was a nod toward an infamous TV Christmas special from 1977 on which Bowie joined Bing Crosby to perform “The Little Drummer Boy.”
4) A “Jersey Shore” Christmas: Jimmy Kimmel lamented the lack of a “Jersey Shore” Christmas special, so he concocted one of his own, subbing the voices of the “Jersey Shore” cast for the voices of the characters on the classic animated holiday special, “Frosty the Snowman.”
5) It’s a perennial favorite, Charlie Brown: As a friend of mine is fond of saying, it’s a yearly custom that’s become an annual tradition — in this case, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the original and still best of all the Peanuts TV specials produced over the years. It’s also the favorite of all the Christmas specials that recur year after year as well. This week, it aired on ABC (for the second time this holiday season) and drew 5.83 million viewers.